July Update

Dear All,

Have you missed me?  I suspect not if the lack of communication on the matter is anything to go by, but that is as it ever was, and I hope at least this communication finds you all well.  My lack of email was due to a problem with my computer, and whilst I could send limited individual emails by other means, main circulation lists were a problem.  Please remember if you would prefer not to receive these emails, just let me know and I will take you off the circulation list.

Much has gone on since I last wrote to you.  The 3rd Gloucester Beer and Cider Festival is long gone, and the Cotswold Beer Festival at Postlip is nearly upon us, but more about that later.

Past events

3rd Gloucester Beer & Cider Festival – thank you to everyone who attended and particularly to those who volunteered, you all made it such a great event.  As in the previous year, we had nearly 2000 people through the door, with over 100 different beers on offer, and around 35 ciders.  We managed to drink nearly all of that, plus consumed in the region of around 40 kilos (88 lbs) of local cheese.  It would be really good, even at this stage to have any feedback from you about the festival, good or bad, as it helps us to look at how we can keep the standard for next year.

Whilst we have had some good trips out, there seems to be a distinct lack of interest in most things that are currently being organised.  This is very disheartening for those who put time and effort into organising the programme.  If there are trips you would like to see, please let us know and we will see what is possible.  Please remember that we have to arrange these at least three months in advance in order to get the programme in the Tippler.

Coming events

Saturday 4th July, there is a service bus trip to Hereford, with a stop off in Ross on the way back.  The trip will be leaving Gloucester Bus Station on the No 33 Stagecoach bus at 10.00 am.  For those of you not old enough yet for free bus passes, it is usually possible to get an explorer ticket around £6.50 but Stagecoach seem to be updating their ticket information at the moment.

Wednesday 15th July, Social meeting 8.00 pm at the Little Thatch, Quedgeley.  Stagecoach 12a leaves Gloucester Eastgate Street at 1950 and gets to Quedgeley at 2000.

Friday 17th – Sunday 19th July, Cotswold Beer Festival at Postlip.  This is our County beer festival and has been going for many a year!  Set in the idyllic grounds of Postlip just outside Winchcombe, this really should be on your “to do” list.  Tickets are available now on line http://www.gloucestershirecamra.org.uk/cbf/ or are available at certain outlets eg Favourite Beers in Cheltenham.  Tickets can be purchased at the same time for the buses which run from Cheltenham to the Festival, details on the website.

Should you wish to volunteer to help at Postlip, it is not too late.  For those working either Friday or Saturday evening, provided you can get to Postlip, there is the offer of transport back to Gloucester if that helps.  Camping is also available for helpers or there may also be some space in cars if it helps.  For helpers, there is the offer of a subsidised visit to Donnington Brewery!  Most of you will know that it has only been on very rare occasions that trips around the brewery have taken place.  If you would like to volunteer please go to either the website or contact me direct.

Saturday 1st August, Malvern Link and Worcester by train.  Meet at Gloucester train station 1120 for the 1136 train.

14th – 15th August, Cheltenham Real Ale Festival, Town Hall.  Again volunteers welcome see Cheltenham website.

Pub and Brewery News

Tank opened in Gloucester Docks in May and is proving to be a very popular destination with a range not only of Gloucester Brewery’s own beers but some very good guest ales.

Today the new Weatherspoons, the Lord High Constable of England opened.  It has certainly enjoyed a few visitors today, and I look forward to hearing what people think.  It certainly looks very nice from the outside, and they seem to have put some effort into the setting.

The Bat and Ball in Churchdown is awaiting new management, with their anticipated arrival in August.

It will be interesting to see if the possibility of Brew Dog moving to Gloucester comes to fruition.  It would certainly indicate that Gloucester, which we all know to be a great place, is being recognised for the potential that it has.  Although not CAMRA’s favourite organisation it would still be a very welcome addition to the area.

Please remember that if you are looking for a great night out with excellent free music and great ales, several pubs in Gloucester offer this.  The Dick Whittington and the Fountain offer a great choice, as do many others, Cafe Rene, Cross Keys, sorry to those I have missed.  The Blues Festival will be upon us soon so do look out for whats on, and go have a great night out.

Hillside Brewery, whilst not technically on our patch, it is not too far out of Gloucester and we have sort of adopted them!  Hillside put on some really good events many for charity, so have a look at the website to see what is on.

Last but DEFINITELY not least – please read

I have mentioned before that the AGM for CAMRA in Gloucester will be held in September, the committee will be setting the date soon, trying to avoid important World Cup dates will be the main issue. This is not to be confused with the Branch AGM which is held in October each year.  CAMRA in Gloucester is organised by members living in the GL1 – GL4 post code areas and means that there are events and a social network organised locally rather than it all coming under the responsibility of the mainly County wide branch.  If the local focus is to continue, we need more people to step up and get involved in the sub branch.  Unfortunately the time has come for me to step down from being sub branch Chair, and in September I will not be standing for re-election.  This means we will be looking for a new Chair and possibly some committee members.  If anyone is interested please have a discussion with me about the role, confidentially if you prefer.  Remember if no one comes forward, Gloucester may have to be run by the Branch.

Look forward to seeing some of you out and about having a beer (or cider)

Best wishes


Rural Pub of the Year 2015

Friday 26th February 2015 saw CAMRA in Gloucester visit The Red Lion in Arlingham to present the award for our Rural Pub of the Year 2015 to Nick and Jo White. A pub threatened with closure and rescued by the local community on June 5th 2013. “Following considerable refurbishment we opened our doors again on November 1st 2013 – out of the hands of a pub co, The Red Lion is once more a free house.”

Always four regular local guest ales on offer – although there were 5 on the night of our visit 🙂  and a great menu. Take a trip down to the lovely village of Arlingham to see what all the fuss is about!

Keeping you in the picture ~ Pub and Event news


Just thought I would do a quick reminder for our next couple of events.

On Friday 27th February at 6.30 pm we have a minibus leaving from the Pelican to go to the Red Lion at Arlingham (maybe with a stop en route).  This visit is to celebrate the Red Lion being nominated as our CAMRA in Gloucester Rural Pub of the Year.  An excellent pub saved a couple of years ago by its village community, it is well worth a visit.  I know a number of you enjoy walking and cycling, and this is a location I am sure you will find suitable for both.  There are a couple of places left on the minibus, so why not take the opportunity to visit.  Bookings to me please but by telephone 07908699809 as I will not be able to pick up email messages for a couple of days.

The following week on Saturday 7th March, there is a trip to Swindon. This will be by train and “plusbus” ticket, so meet at 11.00 for 11.15 train from Gloucester Station.  Just in case of any last minute alterations it is suggested you do a quick check on the website before going.

For our social meeting we are going to meet at the King Teddy before moving onto the Greyhound. So we look forward to seeing you all, particularly those from Longlevens area on Wednesday 11th March at 8.00 pm

Friday March, 27th there is a minibus to Worcestershire.  Again 6.30 pm from the Pelican. Bookings are necessary.

Finally Sunday 29th March Wye Valley are using the Gala Club as a launch venue for their new Beer Pedal Pusher, there will be free sampling on the day and the new Beer itself sold at £1.50 per pint, 50p from every pint going as a contribution towards our chosen Charity this year the MS Therapy Centre. A copy of the Wye Valley Cycling Shirts will also be auctioned off for the Charity.

Recent events

We recently presented our Club of the Year and both the Pub and Cider Pub of the Year.  Remember these are both for the Gloucester Sub branch.  Our Club of the Year is the Gala Club in Fairmile Gardens.  Neil and Maria normally feature 2 or 3 real ales on their bar, and with your CAMRA card can get admission to the club.

The Pelican was also presented recently with their certificates to celebrate both our Pub of the Year and our Cider Pub of the Year.  This took place on the first night of the Pelican’s Winter Ales Festival, and a good night was had by all.  CAMRA members enjoyed a talk by Vernon from Wye Valley Brewery about beer quality and the measures they put in place to ensure that their beers are in top condition, and then we were treated to tours of the newly extended cellar.  Instruction was given on racking and tapping the casks and a couple of members had a go at tapping a barrel.  Looking forward to the next festival in June.

The minibus set off to the Tewkesbury Winter Ales Festival without a couple of people due to illness.  Whilst we were sorry they could not attend, it does give me a timely opportunity to remind people that if they book and cannot attend they must let me know as soon as possible, and that we reserve the right to charge for non attendance.  This may feel harsh for those people but to keep the minibus affordable for all, the cost is worked out on those booked and a no-show increases that cost for everyone else.  My other issue is that the trip was originally over subscribed, and because I didn’t know until the minibus was due to leave, I could not let people know of the spaces. So if you will excuse the expression ” I was a bit p***ed off.  All that aside, those of us who attended really enjoyed the excellent beers on offer.  One for the diary again next year.

3rd Gloucester Beer and Cider Festival

As you are all aware and have it in your diaries, the festival is booked for the 24th/25th April.  We are now starting our search in earnest for volunteers.  Please contact me or use the website www.gloucesterbeerfestival.org.uk to register your interest.  Shifts are 4 hours in length, and any offer from one shift to lots of them will be welcomed.  Remember if you want to help but don’t want to work at the festival itself, there are lots of things we need help with during set up and take down.

Pub news

Due to some very active reporting in the Citizen, I think most of the pub news has been covered recently!  So help us to get ahead of the game and let me know what is going on in your local please. Our best wishes go to Martyn on his venture with the Dick Whitington, glad to hear that it is improving again as a real ale venue.

Whilst on pub news, you all have until Saturday to vote for your Pub of the Season.  Remember this is voted for by you as members, and is about promoting a pub that you think is worth people taking a look.  Votes via the www.camraingloucester.org.uk site please.

Planning ahead

Cotswold Beer Festival takes place on 17th – 19th July, tickets will go on sale during March, so get it in your diary.

September/October will see the sub branch AGM take place.  Whilst I am not resigning yet, it will be two years since I took on the Chairmanship of CAMRA in Gloucester, it was meant to be for two months!  As a group we need to be considering where we go in the future, what does the sub branch need to look like and do to continue to secure its membership and support our pubs. Over the next few months I will be asking members these questions, but please feel free to come up with ideas or thoughts and send them to me, or better still come and talk to me when you see me around town.

Very best wishes


Gala Club receives Club of the Year 2015

Neil Hiley and his wife Maria are proud to show-off their CAMRA in Gloucester award for Club of the Year 2015 for the Gala Club, Fairmile Gardens in Gloucester. CAMRA members met to watch Margaret Wilkins (Chairperson of CAMRA in Gloucester sub-branch) present the award while enjoying 3 fine ales. A particularly good pint of Moorhouses – Blond Witch alongside Wye Valley – Dorothy Goodbody’s Wholesome Stout and Wadworths 6X and all at £2.50 a pint! Neil was keen to point out that CAMRA members are always welcome, just show your membership card.

February Update

Dear Beer Enthusiast

Can’t believe it is nearly February already and I haven’t yet wished you well for the new year, so best wishes and hope 2015 is a good and successful one for you all.

For those of you who have also received this update via email, may I make my regular request and ask that if you do not wish to receive this communication, please let me know and I will stop bothering you.  If you are happy, it would be good to have some feedback, good or bad!  Thank you.


Friday 30th January at 8.00 pm  Presentation to the Water Poet for being nominated our Winter Pub of the Season.  All welcome, and of course you can use your Weatherspoons vouchers, and the beer is still on offer for their January promotion too, meaning around £1.50 pint with voucher!

On Thursday 5th February we make our annual trip to the Tewkesbury Winter Ales Festival.  This is a members only trip, and there are a couple of spaces left on the minibus, which leaves from outside the Pelican at 6.30 pm.  Booking is essential and don’t forget you will need your membership card with you.

The February social event is on Wednesday 11th, and will start at the Gala Club in Fairmile Gardens, where we will present the certificate for being our CAMRA in Gloucester Club of the Year.  All being well the intention is to wander along to the Farmers Club.  Meeting time is 8.00 pm as usual, but if you need to get a bus out to the Gala Club, there should be a no. 98 leaving town at 7.25 pm.

Although very close together, Thursday 12th February is CAMRA night (not exclusive) at the Pelican for the start of their Winter Ales Festival.  Around 8.00 pm we will present Mike with the certificate for CAMRA in Gloucester Pub of the Year. Although the festival will go on into the weekend, on the Thursday night, there will be a tutored beer tasting for members, and the option of a “cellar tour”.  For those who did the cellar tour last year, it will be interesting to see the recent extension” to the cellar.

There is a minibus trip on Friday 27th February which will leave from the Pelican at 6.30 pm.  This trip will be to the Red Lion at Arlingham where we will be presenting the certificate for CAMRA in Gloucester Rural Pub of the Year.  Bookings are required for this trip, as they also are for Friday 27th March when we will be heading to Worcestershire.

March events can be seen on the website or in the Tippler.


As you will be aware there have been some changes in our pubs.  Some of these may have already been reported or are known to you, but worth saying again.  Please do remember that if you have any pub news please let me know, it is impossible for us to visit all 100+ pubs on our patch on a regular basis.

The Royal Oak at Hucclecote has been refurbished, but they have hidden the real ales around the corner in the Sports Bar, so you need to hunt for them.

Norman is now installed at the Station Hotel, and there has been a quick change at the Dick Whittington with Martyn taking over (ex Pig, and the Crown).

New Landlords/Landladies can be found at England’s Glory and at the Bat and Ball in Churchdown.

Gloucester Beer Festival

The dates are confirmed as 24th and 25th April.  Gates will open at 11.30 am and close will be 11.00 pm.  This is pay on the door again, and our chosen charity this year is the RBL Gloucester Poppy Appeal.  Hillside Brewery will be making a special ale in commemoration of the 7th Glosters who, 100 years ago, fought at the Gallipoli landings during the First World War.

Should you be interesting in volunteering to help at the festival, please get in touch either direct to me, or via the beer festival website.  Volunteering doesn’t have to be for the whole event, even if you can only offer a couple of hours, or help out at the set up or take down, it helps take the pressure off the other volunteers, so please do consider helping out.  In return you get some free beer, and probably a free t-shirt but this depends on numbers and length of duty.


Gloucester City Council have been out to consultation regarding their propose Pub Policy http://consult.gloucester.gov.uk/consult.ti/InterimPubPolicyConsultation/consultationHome

The closing date is 3rd February so if you were thinking of responding, then you have until Tuesday to do so.

Best wishes


December Update

Dear Ale Lover,

The festive season is here and Christmas only a jingle away, so the first task in writing this is to remind you all about the Christmas Party on Wednesday night (10th) at 8.00 pm at the Old Crown in Westgate Street.  Bookings are essential for this event, particularly as it includes a buffet.  Tickets, payable on the night, are £10 and that includes the buffet and the first two pints of real ale.  Yes real ale at the Crown for this special occasion.  If you would like to come, and the more the merrier, please let me know as soon as possible as I need to confirm numbers with Martyn and Kay.

Once Christmas is over, we will be seeing in the New Year at the Pelican.  Again all welcome, but we ask you to bring along some food to share.  Anytime for arrival that evening, but don’t leave it too late.

January 3rd brings our first Saturday of the month trip out, and we will be taking the train to Cardiff.  For those who have been on these trips before, you know that we will set a route for the day, so if you want to do some January sales inbetween you will know where to catch us up.  Meet at Gloucester Train Station for 10.22 train.

January 6th is the County committee meeting which will be held at 8.00 pm at the Gala Club.  Although a committee meeting, any members are invited to attend.

January 14th is our first Wednesday social of 2015.  8.00 pm start at Fosters on the Docks,  then we will move on to one or more pubs en route back to town.

Pub news

Well November and December have brought about one or two changes which you may have picked up on.

As you know the landlord of the Station Hotel went to the Northend Vaults, which meant new tenants were needed at the Station.  This has been filled by Norman from the Dick Whittington, and the new people at the Dick Whit are Dwayne and Hazel.  We wish them all well for the future in their new pubs.

Additionally there is another change which we are very sad about, Sharon and her family left the England’s Glory today.  Sharon had turned this into a cracking pub and we are sorry to see them all go.  Again, our very best wishes go to them all.

Gloucester Beer Festival

We now have final confirmation that the 3rd Gloucester Beer Festival will again take place in 2015 at Blackfriars on the 24th/25th April.  This date has changed so make sure the right one is in your diaries.  Anyone interested in volunteering for the festival can either contact me direct or register through www.gloucesterbeerfestival.org.uk   Additionally if you or anyone you know may be interested in sponsorship opportunities we are always happy to explore the options with you.

If there is anything you wish to update me on, please feel free to contact me by email or phone, or through www.camraingloucester.org.uk which is back up and running at top speed.

It only leaves me to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and may Santa recognise how good you have been this year. Ho ho ho!


November Update

Dear Member

Almost into November, it has been another busy month. As you know we started the month with the CAMRA in Gloucester AGM, followed that with our night out at the Water Poet for the start of the International Ales festival, and then it was the Gloucsestershire Branch AGM. Longstanding committee members, Martin Parker and John Barrett stood down, and Steve Kisby from Tewkesbury has taken on the role of Branch Secretary. Andy Frape remains as Chair, and Patrick Phair was invited to stand again as Treasurer, ensuring some continuity. We finished the month off with a visit to Cotswold Spring, to present them with their certificates from Postlip for OSM, and well deserved it is too.

It was with much sadness that we heard that Charlie Dunaway had passed away. Charlie was a real character who we will miss seeing at our events. Our condolences and thoughts go to his family and friends.

On Saturday 1st November, we will be having a day out to Ross. For those who wish to join in, the service bus will be leaving Gloucester Bus Station at 11.00 am, but we hope to meet around 10.50 am.

Wednesday 12th November is our social meeting, and we will start out at Kingsholm Inn (The Jockey) and have a wander around Kingsolm.

Friday 27th November is our Mystery Tour, but spaces are very limited. A reminder for those booked that we will leave the Pelican at 6.30 pm.

Finally a reminder for members to vote for their Pub of the Season (Winter). You have until 25th November to vote, remember that this is voted for by the membership, so the pub with the most votes win. This is a great opportunity to nominate your local, or a pub which you feel deserves a mention that may not normally get one, so it is down to you.

I will do a further update early in the month, to cover some pub and brewery news, but in the meantime if you have anything to share please let me know.

Best wishes


September Update

Dear Ale Lover

Well we are into September already and the schools have all gone back meaning winter is on its way. Beer wise that is quite good news for me as many of you know I am more partial to the “dark stuff” rather than the light but very hoppy numbers which one tends to find in the summer months. Talking of dark nights, it is also a time to be thinking of the Christmas Party, and this is in the process of being finalised, however do put the date in your diary, 10th December, and remember to book your place with me. This is important to ensure that the buffet caters for the right number of people.

Our social programme for the Autumn is now in place, and we start Wednesday evening at the Lower George.

Next week (17th) we will be presenting Sharon, Landlady of the Englands Glory with her certificate to mark the pub being nominated as CAMRA in Gloucester Pub of the Season. As you will now be aware, this is nominated by members and this makes it more special for the publicans. Do come along if you can.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of the Good Beer Guide 2015 please let me know as soon as possible as I have a limited number available at just £10 per copy.

In October, our visit to the Water Poet sees the start of the Winter Ales Festival. Emma and her staff will be organising a charity evening, which costs £5 and includes some ale sampling with sausage matching. Sounds interesting! We are holding our social meeting there to coincide with this event, but bookings are required for the tasting, so again, bookings to me please, or direct from the Water Poet.

Coming soon (but not like in Weatherspoon!)

Please visit our Events calendar for full details

Pub news

It has been a bit quiet on the pub front, unless you know any different of course! I am sure you will all have seen the article in the Citizen regarding Queens. Queens was the Cross Keys in Barnwood Road, and has opened very recently as a Fish and Chip Bar and Restaurant. If you have been in there please let us know how you got on, and if they have any real ale.

For those of you who have been members for some time, you will probably have come across “green cards”. These are used to tell us what pubs have been visited and what the quality of the ale was like, in your opinion of course. If you need any green cards we usually have some available at the social meetings, but you can also complete them on line. This is an invaluable source of information for us, as it is impossible for me to get to all the pubs on the patch on a regular basis.

Brewery news

Hillside Brewery is holding a Coffee & Brewery morning in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. This will take place on Saturday 27th September between 10.00 and 16.00. This is an excellent idea to support such a great charity.

Other news

A couple of things going on elsewhere

As you know Cheltenham have now become a Branch in their own right. We have received an invitation to join in their “Launch Event” on Saturday 4th October starting at 7.00 pm at the Sandford Park Ale House. We have been asked to book with them if we wish to attend so that they can cater appropriately. If you would like to join in, please book through me, or direct with the Cheltenham Branch.

Cheltenham have also notified us that they are visiting Gloucester on Wednesday 8th October, if anyone would like to join in their mini tour of Gloucester, they will be arriving on the 94 bus around 7.50 pm in Market Parade, and we will take it from there!

Again another advance notice for the diary, Tewkesbury Winter Ales Festival CAMRA evening will be on Thursday 5th February. We will hope to run the minibus for this event.

I think that is it! I always press the send button then realise I have forgotten something!

Happy drinking